Politicising the current strife between some Air Terminal Services (ATS) workers and the management of ATS is wrong and it needs to stop, ATS board chairman Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said on Monday. He said it was not helping the workers’ situation.
“The matters are very clear and simple but these politicians complicate things and they give false hope, misleading information to the workers who are now being led astray by the union,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.
Political party leaders have been visiting the workers who walked off their jobs over a fortnight ago.
SODELPA party leader Sitiveni Rabuka, Ro Teimumu Kepa and other leaders visited and took food and donations to them.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum also outlined how the Air Terminal Services Employees Trust breached a law themselves in holding a beneficiary meeting described as a stop-work protest.
“ATSET did not adhere to the law and rule that they were to give their own members a seven-day notice and then by convention to write to management and inform them of their intention to hold a meeting as such,” he said.
“We will not object because this is something we have allowed.”
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said he was grateful for the ATS workers who remained at work to maintain groundhandling services at Nadi International Airport.
“They did their best and these are the people you can see are faithful and passionate about their jobs. We owe them a lot,” he said.
“The ATS Board and Management are acting in the best interest of all that are involved.
“We want the workers back at work but like we have been saying we need them to fully realise that they can’t just walk off their jobs if and when they decide to.
“That is why there is a letter that they have to sign.
“They will not be vicitimised. They will not be disciplined. The letter is to just ascertain that they realise their actions were wrong and they will not commit the act again.”
Meanwhile, a march through Nadi town is being organised by the Fiji Trades Union Congress for January 13. This is in support of the striking ATS workers.
More people who went on strike almost three weeks ago have expressed their intention to return to work at the Air Terminal Services in Nadi International airport.
Chief executive officer Hare Mani said that as of Tuesday afternoon, 26 people have since returned after signing the letter stating they had done wrong in walking off their jobs to attend a the meeting on December 16.
“As of today (Tuesday 2/1) a total of 26 workers have returned to work and more have expressed their intention and interest to return through various people and channels,” he said.